42 of 2016

Newsletter No.42     18 November  2016

New debt rules hurt sales, says retailer

Clothing retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) has slammed portions of the National Credit Regulator’s new affordability regulations, saying they have already severely affected its credit turnover.

Doug Murray CEO Foschini

CEO Doug Murray also said on Thursday that parts of the new affordability regulations “add no value” and could have unintended consequences for consumers.

The retailer said the regulations, which ask consumers to provide credit providers with three months’ worth of payslips or bank statements, have severely affected the group’s credit turnover.

In the six months to end September, TFG reported credit turnover growth of only 1.4%. The estimated cost for the period was about R310m.

“The requirement for proof of income is unnecessary,” said Murray.

“All the tests we have done have shown us that it adds no value. We have always been responsible in extending credit.

“What the new regulations mean is that consumers who can’t get from us are forced to find credit from other less responsible lenders,” he said.

TFG, along with Truworths and Mr Price Group, have initiated legal action against the regulator and Department of Trade and Industry. The retailers are seeking an order from the court to set aside and declare “unlawful and constitutionally invalid” parts of the affordability assessment regulations.

TFG said the group would be heavily dependent on Christmas trading, which would largely determine the company’s performance for the full year.

It could be a less than jolly festive season.

According to financial services company Credit Guarantee, tighter lending standards and households’ waning appetite for credit implied a decline in the contribution of credit to Christmas sales.

IG market analyst Shaun Murison said conditions in the apparel retail sector remained challenging. Consumers were balancing high levels of debt against what had been a rising interest rate environment.

“It should also be noted that new international retailers having arrived in the country are adding to what is an already competitive landscape,” said Murison.

Murray said while he could not say what the group’s forecasts for the holiday season were, TFG was geared up.

Forecasting was “like looking into a crystal ball. We can’t do that. We’ve been pretty consistent in sales in the past seasons. But that is all dependent on what we get from government, consumer confidence, ratings agencies…. But as a business we are ready,” Murray said.

In the period under review, TFG reported headline earnings per share of 496.8c, up 5.7% from a year earlier. Group turnover rose 16.9% to R11.4bn, while operating profit increased 8.2% to R1.7bn. TFG declared an interim dividend of 320c per share, an increase of 4.6% compared with the prior year.

Turnover from TFG Africa (all its African operations) grew 9.5%, with comparable sales growth of 2.1%. The international division, which comprises UK chains Whistles and Phase Eight, reported earnings growth of 48% in pounds for the period.

Business Day

Apparel retailer The Foschini Group’s (TFG’s) interim headline earnings exceeded R1bn for the first time – a result that CEO Doug Murray said was achieved through diversification, international expansion, discipline and cost control.

Mercedes-Benz Bokeh Fashion Film Festival

The 3rd Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival that wowed guests earlier this year in Cape Town presented an insightful teaser to the Gauteng media and fans at their 101 Event on 09 November at the SunshineCo Studio, Johannesburg. The event featured a premier selection of the best new fashion film submissions received thus far for the 2017 festival!

Selvin Govender, Marketing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars commented, “The Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival is now in its third year with the festival bringing some of the most awe-inspiring and creative talents in the world of fashion film to both local and international audiences, who have come to expect excellence in the arts.  Our local and international directors produce extremely powerful collections that reflect the epitome of beauty and the ultimate in fashion, which portrays a lifestyle of modern luxury.”

Commenting further, he says, “Mercedes-Benz is at the pinnacle of automotive technology, and we take the opportunity to present our latest range of fascinating models in a style that is both creative and innovative. At this year’s main event we showcased our latest creations to delight our glamorous audiences.  We also attracted a greater contingent of celebrities and artists for an entertaining event.”

The exclusive 101 Event introduced Jacques Le Grange’s new couture range to Johannesburg. The collection in shades of gold couture fabrics stood majestically on mannequins around a central plinth commanding the venue.

Bokeh Founder and Managing Director, Adrian Lazarus, mentioned the South African Emerging Creative Talent Award  for Bokeh 2017. This sought after category has allowed for young creatives, designers and budding fashion film enthusiasts to submit their short film pitches for consideration in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival. The chosen 10 finalists have had the opportunity to shoot their films with assistance from Bokeh.

The Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival is excited to reaffirm their partnership with the Sunshine Co. who have supplied an extensive production package that helped standardise and assist the finalists with their shoots.  “We are delighted to partner with such an exclusive platform such as Bokeh, and have loved assisting the Emerging Creative Talent Finalists to realise their fashion films, by providing professional film equipment and expertise.” says Clement Matthews, Managing Director of the Sunshine Co.

The festival is also proud to announce a new relationship this year with Fuji who have supplied the finalists with new 4K XT2 Cameras. All the films in this category have been shot on this 4K platform, delivering high quality UHD 4K video ready for broadcast.

World-renowned MAC makeup will be mentored the teams and guided each shoot when it comes to makeup styling. Raine Tauber, global Senior Artist said, “We have been mentoring the finalists through a process of preperation and make-up design at a preprod meeting as well as providing one of our artists who assisted and advised on set during the actual shoot.”

This hands-on approach has certainly helped to elevate the standard of creative makeup on the shoots. Contributing to their personal input, MAC South Africa will also be presenting the make up artist from the film with the best makeup, a winning prize of MAC makeup to the value of R15 000!

DSTV’s new Fashion One channel are also media partners of the event. “As the leading fashion channel across a multitude of platforms, as well as Channel 178 on DSTV, Fashion One strives to showcase the very best fashion and fashion films. As we have placed an emphasis on 4K video I am excited to see the new films created by the Emerging Creatives in 4K. The opportunity to perhaps broadcast a few of these films globally on our platforms will be a motivating factor in getting the creative teams to deliver relevant, entertaining and visually beautiful content. The relationship between Fashion One and the team at Bokeh has grown from strength to strength over the past three years and we are looking forward to the next chapter in 2017,” says Joanne Raphael Katz – African Bureau Chief of Fashion One.

The winning film will receive R50 000 and will be announced at the 4th Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival.

The dates for Bokeh 2017 are 7th and 8th April at the Mercedes-Benz Dealership in Century City, Cape Town.

Soweto Fashion Week celebrates young talent

The annual Soweto Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer (SS17) collection, themed ‘Fashion meets Theatre’, will give young, local designers the opportunity to showcase their work at the Soweto Theatre from 23-26 Novemer 2016.

The SFW team grants a platform for designers and grooms them to better their business skills to ensure growth for their brands. This season marked the first successful empowerment and development workshops/training sessions held to empower both designers and models. The aim for Soweto Fashion Week is to always develop, uplift and empower young, upcoming fashion creatives, designers, models, artists and brands respectively. Soweto Fashion Week has been operating for five years and successfully hosting two seasons each year, the Autumn/Winter season and Spring/Summer season.

Darling Hair continues to be the principal sponsor for Soweto Fashion Week. “The very essence of Darling is transformation which encourages and empowers women to rethink and reinvent the way they express themselves, and so our natural and synergistic alignment with Soweto Fashion Week continues to contribute towards fuelling women’s passion for hair and inspiration for life,” said Pearle Peane, senior brand manager.

The other existing brands/sponsors behind Soweto Fashion Week are Gauteng and Joburg Tourism, Soweto TV and ZeeWorld, and the first black owned spirit beverage brewed in Soweto, VTK Vodka.
Education scores as 3 girls win Gert-Johan Coetzee, Luminance Bursaries​

Dr Judy Dlamini, Gert Johan Coetzee and all the bursary finalists at the Platinum Fashion Festival

Three girls, three bursaries, three dreams come true… That is what happened last weekend at Northwest School of Design in Klerksdorp when fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee announced the winners of the GJC and Luminance bursaries at the Platinum Fashion Festival.

Thembakazi Stokwe and Xoliswa Kawuzela, both 28 and both getting a second shot at education in a field they’re passionate about, will both leave full-time jobs to immerse themselves in studying

Capetonian Andrea Beyers, currently writing matric at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, will embark on the Fashion Design course. Their three-year bursaries, worth a total of R500 000, will cover tuition fees and study materials, and includes sewing machines from Bernina for each of them.

In addition Xoliswa and Andrea will be personally mentored by Coetzee, with holiday internships at his studio, while Thembakazi, who was selected by Dr Judy Dlamini for the Luminance Social    Responsibility Grant, will get invaluable exposure to the retail world at the luxury boutique group.

Thembakazi’s dream of a career in fashion almost never came true because her parents wanted her to pursue a more “secure” career, she says, so she obtained a BA in Psychology at UJ. But it never felt like a calling and after graduating she tried a variety of jobs from legal interpreting to retail to marketing. When she heard Dr Dlamini discussing the bursary on radio earlier this year, a light went up for her. “I always dreamt of one day working for Vogue in New York, and getting the chance to be mentored by someone as inspirational as Dr Dlamini, and becoming part of the Luminance family is like a dream come true. I never thought I would have this opportunity.”

For Dlamini it was Thembakazi’s resilience and her refusal to give up her dream that clinched the deal. “Thembi personifies the Luminance woman, who is hard-working and believes that limits exist only in our minds; who pursues her dreams with grace, and does it all in stilettos! She’s a perfect fit,” says Dlamini.

Coetzee in turn found a perfect match for his brand in Xoliswa Kawuzela from Kempton Park. Another frustrated fashionista who’d been persuaded by her family into the more “sensible” career of banking, she had never felt fulfilled and never stopped praying for an opportunity to come her way. The mother of a five-year-old boy, she is thrilled at her second chance, which could allow her to turn her love of fashion into business success. “It will be a sacrifice to be away from my son, but my mother has agreed to take care of him while I am studying full time,” explains Xoliswa. Says Coetzee, “Her maturity and the experience she has already gained in the business world will give her the edge, and I am excited to help shape her career in fashion.”

The baby of this bursary intake, 17-year-old Andrea Willow Beyers, grew up in Mitchell’s Plain and was accepted into Oprah’s prestige school in Grade 9. “Fashion has always been in my blood – I was about five years old when I started drawing dresses, and I’ve always loved putting together looks that are different,” she says. She learnt about the bursary when Coetzee did a talk at her school earlier this year, and immediately decided to apply. Coetzee noticed her confidence even then, and was impressed by the passion and focus she displayed in her application. “Talent goes a long way, but for my Fashion Design bursary I look for someone who is as singleminded and determined as I was as a teenager. This is a tough industry, and you really have to work hard to succeed. I recognise that drive in Andrea.”

Coetzee is committed to pass the baton to young design talents and his bursary programme at Northwest School of Design, where he himself graduated, is already entering its seventh year. And while it catered only for aspirant fashion designers before, he added a second bursary for 2017 for the more business-oriented course, and then inspired Dr Judy Dlamini to add the creative category to the various bursaries she already offers through her family trust. “Those of us who are fortunate in business have a responsibility to invest in the next generation,” says Coetzee. “I believe in the power of education and mentorship and feel blessed that I can pass on some of the lessons I have learnt and in that way help to grow the industry that has given me so much.”

Did you know….

Men didn’t wear underwear until the 17th century. Women didn’t bother wearing underwear until around 1800.

Bill Nye the Science Guy owns a patent for ballet pointe shoes.

The world’s longest wedding dress has a train that’s 1.85 miles long. It required approximately three miles of taffeta and 18 feet of lace to produce.

To Advertise………………….. Click here to see fact sheet.

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